Luxembourgish culture: Who is Dicks?

Edmond de la Fontaine (24 July 1823 – 24 June 1891), or as he called himself, Dicks, was a Luxembourg writer, poet and lawyer, born here:

 Photograph by Christian Ries

Photograph by Christian Ries

Dick's father was Luxembourg’s first Prime Minister in 1848.

Dicks himself is credited with the writing and producing of the first theater play in the Luxembourgish language, then known as the ‘Luxembourger German dialect’. De Scholdschäin debuted on February 25, 1855 and contributed immensely to the development of the Luxembourgish national identity.

 

You can see a monument at Place d’Armes dedicated to Dicks and Michel Lentz who wrote the words to the Luxembourg national anthem.

 Photograph by  Razvan Orendovici

Photograph by Razvan Orendovici

Some of the songs that Dicks composed for his plays, are still known and sung today. One example is the song called ‘Ech sinn e groussen Hexemeeschter’ from the operetta ‘D’Mumm Séis oder De Geescht’.

 

The story is about a girl (Kett) who is in love with Péiter but two other villagers would like to see her marry someone else. The one neighbour, Sprochmates, would like to see her marry his son whereas the other neighbour, Hexentommes, would like to marry her himself for her money. So Hexentommes convinces Sprochmates to play a trick on Kett and to make her believe that a ghost (in the form of a former lover of hers) is spooking around her house at night. The ghost is played by Sprochmates who eventually changes his mind and exposes the whole scheme. In the end, Kett and Péiter come together.

 

Without further ado: Ech sinn e groussen Hexemeeschter

The lyrics, loosely transcribed and translated by me (if someone has the original text by Dicks, please let me know, I couldn’t find it online…):

Lyrics Hexemeeschter.png